Helium is pleased to say that our Fact-Checking Program is stronger than ever and having great success in the second half of 2009.

From Helium’s Lead Fact-checker, Amanda Fox:

The Helium fact checking program has recently reached its six month anniversary, and in that time many things have changed. Slowly but surely the “verified” icon is appearing on site to denote articles which have been vetted for accuracy. In a likewise manner some articles which failed to meet standards for accuracy have been upgraged to do so or removed from site to help raise the level of quality content on site.

Contrary to popular belief, fact checking is a true community initiative in which every Heliumite plays a role. It begins with authors who provide good quality content to be displayed. Those who take the time to do their research and provide solid knowledge articles are the key. The next link in the chain are all the Helium members who take the time to provide good flags for the fact checking team to help identify information on site which may not be correct. The final link is the fact checking team which then investigates each flag and pools their resources to determine the validity of the information presented.

Receiving a notice that your article has failed a fact check can be for some an unnerving experience, however there is no need to feel that way. Each notice will detail what information is in question, and provide an online resource to allow the author to investigate this as well so they can make a determination of what steps they will take regarding their article. An author may agree with the findings of the fact check team and make the noted correction. In some cases an author may disagree and chosse to contest the failure notice.

If an author chooses to contest a failure by contacting content@helium.com, they should forward the entire notice they were sent along with the reason why they feel their information is correct and any supporting sources. The information is then reviewed again by a third party and a determination is made along with an explanation to the author for the decision reached. The key to the entire process is communication between the author and the fact checking team.

As an entire community this is a program which can grow and thrive and be a major factor in what helps set Helium apart from all other writing sites on the web. Solid information people can depend on elevates the profile of Helium as a whole which benefits each of us as members and the visitors we attract. With each member doing their share of providing accurate content, taking time to flag incorrect information, and enlisting in the fact checking corps to help verify iformation, we all reap rewards.

Amanda and the rest of the fact-checking team have taken on a Herculean endeavor on Helium and the appreciation, as well as the angry emails, means the program is certainly working as planned.

Helium also recently heard from a member of a reputable journalism organization (we’re not able to say who and where at this time) who was amazed and delighted to hear that Helium was actually fact-checking articles like a reputable newspaper or magazine. The value added here, especially for the Marketplace and stock content program, is huge.

Couple this with the fact that Wikipedia recently started using a color-code system to convey how reputable the online editor/source is. According to Daniel Ionescu at PC World, “Starting this fall, text from new or questionable sources will be signalled with a bright orange background, while trusted authors will get a lighter shade … the more people view and edit new text on Wikipedia, the more “trust” the initial edits get, turning from orange to white.”

Helium is leading the pack of community-sourcing content publishers when it comes to creating a solution that verifies the content being sold is reputable and factually correct.

Here’s to another six months of fact-checking success!

Fact checking tip: If you see an article that is factually incorrect, please flag it for “Incorrect Information” and don’t forget to be specific about what informaiton is wrong within the article.

(Do you have editing or fact-checking experience? Are you a young magazine or newspaper writer looking for more experience? Maybe you’re a journalism student looking to get your foot in the door. If you want to become part of the fact-checking team, sign up today.)

Helium has discovered a correlation between user images and Marketplace success rates.

Helium writers with a professional image, name and bio are receiving 75% of all Marketplace and stock content sales.

We’ve also been hearing from an increasing number of publishers who’ve said they are more likely to purchase articles and give byline credit to Helium members with a real name for a pen name and a professional looking photograph.

In our constant push for quality and for members to represent themselves in the best possible manner, we recommend that all of our members upload a professional looking photograph, use a real name for a pen name and write a professional bio on their About Me pages.

These are three easy steps that can help you pave the way to continued success on Helium.

Here are a few titles and articles here that will provide more information on making the most of your About Me page:

Still have questions? Feel free to contact one of your Site Stewards, who are featured on channel pages throughout the site.

Helium is excited to announce our new partnership with R.R. Donnelley, a global provider of integrated communications.

With this relationship, Helium can leverage R.R. Donnelley’s vast business network of publishers, content providers and other partners to bring countless writing and business opportunities to our members. Likewise, R.R. Donnelley can now take advantage of the various products and stable of talented writers in Helium’s knowledge cooperative to increase its content offerings to worldwide partners.

To say that the business potential for everyone involved is huge would be quite an understatement. We can’t wait to bring more writing opportunities to our members, as well as continue to show the world what Helium writers are capable of.

Be sure to read the press release and stay tuned for future freelance assignments through the Helium Marketplace.